Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Twitter is Not News

I have a lot of half-formed content floating around in my head, but research and job search (and curtain making) have picked up again,  and Hooray For That, so I haven't had much time to flesh 'em out.  A lot of them are social commentary kind of stuff, some even blatantly political.  I find it valuable to analyze political issues to figure out what the hell my political view actually is, but I'm not sure if all that is relevant to a Science blog without Science backing of some kind.  So I've got to do my social science homework a bit.

For now, here's a somewhat outdated rant of mine.

Obviously, I'm one of those old fogies (while not being very old) who Just Don't Get It Re: Certain Social Media, but I'm really sick of NPR reporting on things you can do with twitter as if it were real news.

The most recent I heard was a story about book reviews with twitter.  One-hundred-twenty characters to get across the essense of the classics, or a new read, or what have you.

I'm sorry, but when I listen to the supposedly left-leaning National Public Radio for company in my lonely house and the occasional newsworthy tidbit, I just don't care to hear about what you can do with twitter.  Admittely not a twitter user (I have an account, but I only joined to try to win some contest a writer friend was putting on...which I didn't win), I just don't understand what makes twitter's-recent-novelty-use newsworthy.  Despite what people may think, I highly doubt that the world of book-reviewing, or book-reading for that matter, is going to twitterize, and it's insulting to the human intellectual attention span to think so.

I can see the fun challenge in trying to sum your review up in one hundred twenty characters.  Snark and wit can still apply.  But that's a little fun on the internet--like, and you don't see NPR reporting on internet tetris.

Okay, so twitter book reviewing or the related story of theirs, cd reviewing, is more intellectual than playing tetris, and that is something to be midly praised.  There is fun to be had with twitter to be sure, such websites as tweeting too hard---okay that is the only one I can think of.  Furthermore, authors must have the skill of pitching their complicated project in one sentence that makes theirs stand out from countless other one-senteces pitches, so maybe your friends can read your manuscript and tweet your sentence for you.  So maybe it's a challenge, maybe there's an intellectual component--but it's also still just a novelty.  Something to do for fun, for humor, etc. 

 My larger problem may be that I am an old-fashioned, long-winded blogger, and I just don't get what is interesting or enough about 120 characters of your life, your friend's lives, your opinion of a new book, following random cross-linking from a blog post to someone's twitter sentence to someone else's midly related twitter sentence to some other random thing, to Kevin Bacon.  There's no room for explanation, for argument, for clarification or subtlety or in short, substance.*   Obviously twitter is taking up loads of users, and maybe that is NPR worthy news.   But they reported on that already.   Book reviews, movie reviews, cd reviews?  Whatever.

*Admittedly, some one-hundred-twenty character sentences have more substance than pages and pages of words.  One hopes this blog is not such an example.

If you want to explain what I obviously just don't get about twitter to me in the comments, please do enlighten me.

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